Java SE 7: Rushed out the door, bugs and all
Finding a severe bug in Java SE 7 normally would be forgivable, but Oracle's behavior in the matter has been downright disgraceful.
At the time the Apache Foundation resigned from the JCP executive committee, Oracle accused the foundation of holding back the progress of Java. In twin statements with eerily coordinated wording, Oracle vice presidents Adam Messinger and Don Deutsch both repeated -- chanted, really -- that Oracle must "move Java forward" and that the Apache Foundation should get in line.
Now we learn that Oracle knew about the Java SE 7 bug fully five days before it shipped the product. And yet it shipped anyway because five days wasn't enough time to fix the problem.
I'm slapping my forehead here. Seriously? The Java community has been waiting five years for Java SE 7, but Oracle was so desperate to "move Java forward" that it couldn't wait any longer, even when it knew it was going to ship a product that contained a major flaw?
I'm reminded of all those years GM shipped shoddy, defective automobiles because nobody was willing to stop the assembly line, even when they saw a problem. This is American innovation at its finest?
Oracle reportedly says it will fix the problem in its next service release -- whenever that might be. Oracle typically issues security bugs on a quarterly basis, but it also issues individual fixes for bugs that are deemed too serious to wait until the next update. It's not clear where this particular bug falls. Wouldn't it be funny if the Java SE 7 release was deemed too important to wait, but fixing its serious bugs wasn't?
A shameful episode for Java
And in the midst of it all we have the Apache Foundation -- sidelined by Oracle, yet still contributing to the Java community in more ways than I dare count.
It was only natural that the foundation should discover the bug, as it maintains some of the most important and popular Java tools out there. The projects that noticed the bug were Solr and Lucene, both parts of a high-performance search engine. In addition to those, however, other prominent Java-related Apache projects include Ant, Cocoon, Geronimo, Jakarta, Struts, and Tomcat -- names that should be familiar to any Java developer. In fact, Apache probably does more to benefit Java developers than any single organization outside Oracle itself.
And yet when the Apache Foundation pointed out a glaring flaw in the latest version of Java, it didn't get so much as a thank you, and Oracle didn't so much as issue a mea culpa. So much for community-driven Java.
If I made my living as a Java developer, I would be pounding the walls right now. Oracle should be ashamed of itself. It's almost as if it doesn't care about its customers at all -- ah, but what am I saying?
This article, "Oracle: Java's worst enemy," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Neil McAllister's Fatal Exception blog and follow the latest news in programming at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.